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Cultural Politics of Childhood

Semester and Year SU 2012
Course Number IDSEM-UG1268
Section 001
Instructor Patrick McCreery
Days Mon,Wed
Time 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Units 4.0
Level U
Foundation Requirement


Session II: July 2-August 10.


This interdisciplinary seminar examines the ways that society has imbued children and childhood with certain cultural meanings. We start by focusing on two widespread assumptions about children—that they are naturally innocent and that they are routinely endangered by social problems such as violent crime, drug abuse, and sexual predators. Next, we study how these cultural assumptions originated in Romantic and Victorian visions of childhood and how “childhood” itself emerged as a coherent life stage only in the past several centuries. Finally, we study how childhood increasingly has become the focus of academic attention, popular concern, and state control. While the main focus of the course is on cultural understandings of childhood, we also examine how children themselves have made sense of their lives. Texts come from the fields of literature, history, political science, psychology, and queer theory. They may include Ariès’s Centuries of Childhood , Barrie's Peter Pan , Levine’s Harmful to Minors, and Postman's Disappearance of Childhood .



Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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